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Saturday, April 29, 2006

Point Eight

That is how much I lost at my most recent WW weigh-in. So, since I "restarted" 2 weeks ago I've lost 2.8 lb. Not bad, but I really hate the .8 thing. Why couldn't it just be the whole pound?! Oh, well. Continuing with the personal trainer... it's been 2 weeks now, and I'm not as sore as I imagined I would be. I did go out last night with the other Nokia wives to a family-style Italian restaurant. I tried to be sensible, but I'm sure that I wasn't, and the desserts were fabulous.

The school year is winding down here. Have to love Georgia where the kids get out by the end of May. Laura actually starts finals next week and is completely done by May 8. She'll be home for about 5 days and then off to China. Kyle continues his struggle with his dad and math and his dad about math. Hopefully he can get the upper hand on it. I'm really looking forward to June!

Monday, April 24, 2006

Oprah today

Wow, time flies. It's been awhile. Anyway, I watched Oprah today and the subject matter really hit home. Not the 3 and 4 year olds obsessed with their looks, though that was disturbing enough. It was the beautiful teenager that hated how she looked, and how her mother's dislike of her own looks was the problem. Oprah kept saying how the lights were probably going on all over the country, and it was certainly true here. Generations of women in my family have passed on pain and hurt about looks and self worth, and I am guilty too. So Laura, if you read this, I am sorry. We'll have to work on that.

On a similar topic... I've started working with a personal trainer, and have restarted the Weight Watchers. Only a few more weeks until the summer vacation, and I would hate to be mistaken for a whale on the beach (how's that for self-loathing). And that's really a joke with maybe just a kernel of truth in it. How's that for honesty.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Plaid Shorts and Polos

The shopping continued today, and I believe that Kyle is set with plenty of plaid shorts and polos... striped and solids. Our main question to him is... who is she? He's not tellin'.

Laura came home briefly yesterday for a dentist appointment and the good news is that she only has one wisdom tooth. The dentist recommended doing NOTHING! Yay! That is one rite of passage that we can all do without so she is one lucky girl. She helped me cook last night so again we got everything made in just over 30 minutes. Then we went to see Ice Age 2. It was the 9:15 showing and who knew there would be so many really little kids there. The movie was pretty funny, but had some really scary bits so there was a lot of screaming, crying kids. Maybe they were just tired!

She spent the night, and then the whole family went shopping together. She had to go back to Athens this afternoon, because she had to work. We did have fun though and Kyle ate so much at lunch that the waiter actually gave him a free piece of cake (he finished a HUGE plate of ribs, plus a large bowl of soup). Oh, to be a 15 year old boy who is trying to gain weight!!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Fashion Epiphany

This entry has nothing to do with cooking, Rachel Ray, or weight loss... mostly because I haven't thought of any of those things for the last couple of days. Instead, yesterday, after track practice (about 5 pm... rush hour) I had to drive Kyle to Lenox Square in search of seersucker shorts to wear to the dance at school that was beginning at 8 pm. Suddenly, he is tired of me picking out all his clothes !! And khaki cargo shorts are so, well, yesterday. No luck with the seersucker, but he did get some green shorts, a pale yellow Ralph Lauren polo, some madras patchwork shorts from Brooks Brothers, and some seersucker looking shorts from Banana Republic. We made it home in time for a quick dinner (the ultimate under 30 minute dinner... spaghetti and sauce from a jar), a shower, and back in the car. He showed up fashionably late about 8:25.

If you want to check out where Laura will be going at the end of May, go to It's pretty awesome if I do say so myself!

Monday, March 27, 2006

I'm Back

I'm back from Richmond and had a great time visiting and reconnecting with my old friends. We saw the Blandford church in Petersburg, had great food, and great conversation.

I saw my first entire Rachel Ray episode, and I think the menu she made is in RR2 (haven't checked yet). She did a bit of cutting corners, and who knows who else comes in to help during the commercials. Tonight Kyle and I had the Cheddar and Macaroni and the peas. Pretty good comfort food, though Kyle, the gourmet, says he likes Kraft better. I did get the whole thing made in 30 minutes, but that was without making the apple crisp.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Still cooking

Well, things are still cooking here. I've had to jump around in the RR2 cookbook, but that's my primary source. It seems like the make your own takeout section is the most useful for my family. This week it was the Philly cheesesteaks (not right without mayo according the Roland), and the 5-spice beef and pepper stir fry (that I made with broccoli and cashews instead of peppers and almonds). I'm averaging about 45 minutes if I make the whole menu, though last night, with the stir fry, that's all I made and it came in under 30 minutes.

This weekend, I'm flying up the Richmond, VA to meet up with some Maryland girlfriends. Our little group started as a church women's group we called the "Get Away Group" because we all had small children, and Saturday mornings were a good time to leave the kids with dad and "get away". Most of our kids are grown up and out of the house now, and we are really "getting away" even if it's only for two days and one night. Should be fun though, as I've never been to Richmond (except to drive through).

Saturday, March 18, 2006


Well, I haven't posted in a while, but I'm still cooking. I did manage to be a vegetarian the whole time Roland and Kyle were out of town, but they like meat too much. I've made several more Rachel recipes... only one menu took me 30 minutes. That was the Spanish beef and rice and a salad. The rest took at least 45 minutes. The more chopping and ingredients, the longer the recipe takes. Friday I made the super sloppy joes, but I have a great Southern Living sloppy joe recipe in the 1982 collection. It's a favorite of the whole family, so I'll stick with that in the future.

Today was family yard work day. We had an estimate from a lawn care company that seemed so expensive (for a spring cleanup) that I decided we could do it ourselves. We have several places in the back yard to dump leaves and debris, so I got a tarp, got the kids to go along with being paid, and we all worked. I"ll be sore tomorrow. Laura and Kyle worked until after lunch, and then Kyle had to go to the library for a research project. I've never seen him so eager to do homework.

We found a great bbq place tonight... Williamson Bros. in Marietta. Since we've been in Atlanta about 7 months, we've been trying to find our favorite restaurants. So far, our fav Mexican is Taxco. This bbq place might make the list, and we will definitely go back. Favorite subs... any Jersey Mike location. That's all that have made the list so far.

Laura goes back to school tomorrow after a fun spring break... Florida and then time with her famously fun (and favorite) family ;-).

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Veggin' Out

Rachel Ray is on hiatus for me this week. Roland and Kyle are on vacation (spring break), so I've decided to go vegetarian, maybe for all of Lent. I'll see how it goes this week. So far so good. The excitement for my week will be... jury duty. Yes, folks. Got my Georgia driver's license last July, registered to vote here, and a mere 7 months later I got my summons. Got my iPod charging... I'm ready for MARTA, and hours of sitting around. But I am, of course, doing my civic duty.

Watching the Oscars. Great speech by George Clooney. And Reese's dress is gorgeous. I filled out the Oscar ballot in the AJC, and so far I'm 2 for 3. Go me.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dress for Success

In a previous post I mentioned volunteering at Dress for Success ( in Atlanta. It has over 75 affiliates worldwide, so it's really everywhere! And today was fun. I'm a "personal shopper" which means that I help the clients find appropriate interview-wear (suits, blazers, skirts, etc.). The one really hard part is that many of the clients are plus-size, yet there are not as many donations in those sizes. SO, if you are a random reader who has a lot of suits and needs to clean out your closet, and happen to see this, look up your local affiliate, and donate a suit, shoes, handbags, and help women down on their luck look fantastic and, more importantly, feel great, in their interviews. AND if you are plus size, even better.

Oh, besides plus size clothing, big size shoes (in good condition) are always needed.

Monday, February 27, 2006


A quick vent about Rachel Ray and her cookbooks. It's not the time the recipes take or the ingredients... it's how many pans/skillets and burners the meals need. There have been meals that would go quicker if I didn't have to wait for the skillet to finish the previous step. That's all about that.

Last night I made the chicken divan "double duty" menu. For some reason it took me almost an hour. My chicken breasts certainly took longer than 8 minutes to poach (more like 15). And in the end it was pretty bland. I like my grandmother's chicken divan recipe better, and I think I could do it in 30 minutes (especially if I got a rotissirie chicken). OK I'm sure that I spelled rotissirie wrong, but I can't be bothered to look it up.

I've skipped around a bit for this week because Roland is on a business trip so it's just me and Kyle. Tonight we had the smoky orange bbq chicken sandwiches. The smoky orange sauce was pretty spicy and quite different from the KC masterpiece we're used to. It only took me 30 minutes but I didn't make the other 2 menu items. I mean really... red cabbage and beet slaw salad with currant dressing... what is she thinking. I actually bought the ingredients, but it just sounds too yucky for words. The baked beans with bacon really do sound good, but Kyle doesn't like beans and I don't want that much left over.

Oh, one more vent... Rachel's portion sizes. I've been cutting most of the recipes in half (she usually claims 4 servings) and they are still enough for 3 with some left over.

Kyle has recovered, and so far, no sign of flu for me or Roland ... knock on wood.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Kyle has the flu. That was the result of the rapid flu test done at the pediatrician's office this afternoon. In 2-5 days Roland and I could conceivably come down with it. Nobody, of course, took the time to get a flu shot. Yay.

I did cook tonight, and on the schedule was the vegetable "lasagna" which was good because Kyle is really not eating. It is basically cheese ravioli layered with veggies (spinach, artichoke hearts and asparagus) and a white sauce. Topped with cheese. It was yummy. Salad and lime sherbert and bread. Pretty good comfort food. Kyle picked out the ravioli which was the only solid food he has eaten since Mama Fu pot stickers at lunch yesterday. Smoothies from Smoothie King have been his sustenance. The doc did put him on tamiflu so hopefully he'll be well enough to go to school on Monday. He will have lots to make up.

Oh, dinner took about 40 minutes to make.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

You can't always get what you want

That song has been going through my mind all day. You get what you need. I'm sure that's a sign for Kyle, though he seems to have moved on from the baseball idea to track. He was home sick today, and likely tomorrow as well since his fever (almost 102) won't seem to break. I think a trip to the doctor will be in order tomorrow.

No cooking tonight. Roland has a business dinner, and with Kyle sick, I just ordered a pizza. Also it was WI... another 0.8 lost. Yippee. The pizza was a bit of a "celebration". I did cook the previous two nights though.

Tuesday was Make your own take-out... pork burgers and red bean salad. Just over 30 minutes and the burgers were really good. You mix the ground pork with sausage. I couldn't find the kind Rachel recommended, but used hot Italian sausage (in honor of the Olympics?). Still great. The red bean salad, I thought, was also good, but Roland and Kyle were not overly impressed.

Last night it was marinated meat... I used chicken, though the recipe claims you can use the marinade on beef, pork or portabella mushrooms. Then just pan-fried. Good. Also cheesy orzo, the best part of the whole meal... a great gooey comfort kind of side dish. The balsamic glazed brocoli just turned out too weirdly brown and vinegary. I think plain steamed would be just as good (or better). I marinated the chicken earlier in the day (she says 10 minutes is enough), and the rest of the meal took just over 30 minutes. Oh, and you make gravy to go with it. Rachel's gravy recipe was a huge success. I would never say I could make gravy before. I would definitely make this menu again.

Gotta watch the Olympics now...

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Hits and Misses

The last two Rachel Ray menus I made were hits and misses. Sunday's dinner was a Passport menu and we found ourselves transported to the southwest. Well, not really. The stuffed peppers were a miss, but we loved the rice--Mexican style-- that was stuffed in the peppers. The wild mushroom quesadillas were great, although I forgot to buy the shiitake mushrooms. Didn't miss them. The black bean salsa would have been great except for the barbecue sauce which just made it weird. I think regular salsa or taco sauce would have made it a hit instead of a miss. The strawberry margaritas were a hit. And the whole thing took 50 minutes.

Last night Laura stopped by on her way home from taking Anthony to the ATL airport. She helped chop for our Healthy Hunger Buster (HHB) dinner of swordfish steaks, mango salsa and the curry couscous. Loved the swordfish. Had to improvise with the mango salsa when I discovered the mango I bought was rotten. Luckily I had some diced peaches that worked just great. For the curry couscous, I don't really like curry that much so I used just half of what was in the recipe. Also, I just diced the carrots and cooked them when the water was boiling. Oh, and I didn't have the sliced almonds which I thought I did. It was pretty good, but not great. The salsa and couscous took about 30 minutes with a chopping helper. The swordfish took 10 minutes per person because I only have a small George Foreman, but Laura ate before everyone else got home. The fish was great cooked that way, and worth the wait.

Kind of a disappointing afternoon today. Kyle didn't make the baseball team, so he'll have to regroup and rethink what he wants to do this spring.

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Serging, Bowling and Other Thoughts

I love my new serger. OK, it took me at least 30 minutes to thread the first time, but hey, it's complicated. I don't know why I didn't buy one sooner, but now that I've got one I'm thrilled.

I went bowling last night with the wives' group I belong to (our husbands all work at the same place). I had my highest score ever... 162... with 4 strikes in one game! That has never happened to me. It was downhill from there, with a 107 on the next game, and a more expected score of 86 on the last. Oh, well, it was fun anyway, and my arm is actually not that sore.

I haven't done much cooking the last couple of nights, but Thursday night's "double duty" salmon patties were a modest hit. After complaining that he didn't really like salmon at all, Roland actually ate 3 of the patties, claiming hunger. Changes I made to Rachel's recipe... only a couple of drops of Tabasco (instead of a whole teaspoon), and they were plenty spicy, and I just pan fried them in about a tablespoon of oil (once around the pan as she says) instead of frying them in an inch of oil. AND I made them, and the salad that accompanied in 40 minutes. I'll start up again with my 30 minutes meal journey either tonight or tomorrow.

Friday night Roland and I went out. I spent all afternoon in the car driving to Athens and back. I picked up Laura's boyfriend at the ATL airport, and promptly got caught in one of those shut down the interstate kind of backups. It took us 3-1/2 hours to get to Athens, though once clear of the backup we did take a short detour to pick up Laura's clarinet in Norcross. Anthony was actually pretty chatty. Maybe he was just scared being trapped with his girlfriend's mother for that long. The drive home only took a more customary 1-1/2 hours, but I was in no mood to cook.

Well, I'm off to do more sewing and serging...

Thursday, February 16, 2006


Thursdays are my weigh-in (WI) days at Weight Watchers. So good news today... I lost 2.2 pounds (a whole kilogram!). And good news about last nights dinner ... made in 30 minutes!!! And easy clean-up. It was the first "double duty" dinner, poached salmon and minted red potatoes. The salmon recipe was a great basic that I'm sure I will repeat. Tonight I'm doing the second half, salmon patties I think. Hopefully Roland, who doesn't do leftovers, will not freak out too much about eating salmon 2 nights in a row.

I had a request from Laura to name the dessert from V-D. I don't have the book right here, but it was chocolate cups that was kind of like chocolate pudding with liqeuer. Rachel had hazelnut liquer in the recipe, but I used raspberry instead which was what I had. I am making some substitutions to "lighten" up the recipes because she uses lots of olive oil and butter. I use some but not as much as she suggests. Last night's fit very well though with the WW program.

Big excitement for me today... I bought a serger (like a sewing machine, but not for those who don't know what it is). And since Kyle left today for his band trip (returning Monday night), I have virtually no responsibilities this weekend, you'll find me in the basement making things.

I'm off to play with my new toy.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Still an Hour

I skipped over a couple sections and, in honor of Valentine's Day, went to the Big Nights section. AND I made dessert. Still took me an hour, but that was including the dessert (which had to chill so I made it first as advised). The dessert was good, probably great if you are a huge chocolate lover, and probably should have been made even earlier in the day. It was the consistency of thick chocolate syrup in the bottom of the cup.

The vodka cream pasta and the "heart-y" salad were good, but my husband said he wouldn't have proposed over it (as RR claims). I would make both again, but I'm not very good at drizzling the oil and vinegar over the salad. Anyone know which one you are supposed to do first?

I've started volunteering at the Atlanta Dress for Success organization. Check it out at Anyway, I'll post more about it later.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006


That is how my husband and Kyle described last night's dinner. I give it 3 stars(out of 5). I made the first menu in the Family-Style Suppers (FSS). Who knew that you could bake artichoke hearts?! I thought they were great, son Kyle thought they were tangy and gross. The chicken piccata pasta toss was good, but not great (and brown). Those 2 things took me just over an hour. I didn't make the dessert.

As a disclaimer, I've never seen her show. Maybe she gives tips on how to speed up the process. She does recommend reading everything through before you start. I'll try that tonight to see if it helps.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 13, 2006

My Challenges

I have decided to give myself a somewhat unoriginal challenge, by making all the meals in Rachel Ray's 30-Minute Meals 2 cookbook. I received this for Christmas and have made a few things, and to spice things up, I'm going to start at page 1 and work my way through, recording my journey for anyone who happens to stumble on this. (I'm brand new to blogging, so bear with me here.)

A couple of tests for ol' Rachel... can these meals REALLY be made in 30 minutes, and are all the ingredients REALLY easily found. Oh, and I'm not going to do one meal after another in order, but meal 1 of each section, then meal 2, etc. I've already done this for 2 of the meals and I'll make that report in a future post, but the bottom line, was each one of those actually took a little over an hour.

My other personal challenge is my commitment to Weight Watchers, and my goal to lose about 20 pounds (also unoriginal, but necessary). This will eliminate making the desserts in Rachel's menus, but I'll mention that in my reports.

I'm off to cook...